By/ Last Modified On May 29, 2023
We like to tackle hard-hitting questions here at Gluten-Free Palate – and breakfast cereals are part of our research.
So are Cheerios gluten-free? Keep reading to learn more about this popular cereal, whether Cheerios are safe for celiacs, and tons of alternatives to start your day off right!
We promise: Not all hope is lost!
Are Cheerios Gluten-Free or Not?
Do Cheerios have gluten? This isn’t an easy question to answer, so we’ll break it down for you.
First things first: Original Cheerios by General Mills aren’t made with glutinous ingredients and they come with a gluten-free label. This means that Original Cheerios are safe for celiac diets.
According to the official website, these are the main Cheerio ingredients:
- Wholegrain oats
- Multiple vitamins and minerals (e.g., vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B12, iron, zinc).
This is where things get a little sticky. As mentioned in our gluten-free cereal post, Cheerios in the United States include a gluten-free label. The exact same product sold in other countries – like Canada – doesn’t!
According to Gluten-Free Watchdog, the biggest concern is in General Mills’ sorted oats and testing protocol. Now, General Mills is transparent about their gluten-free testing, working hard to remove the risk of gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye, and barley from their naturally gluten-free oat supply.
General Mills does this through a state-of-the-art mechanical and optical sorting process that’s NASSCD-recommended. The oats are then milled into oat flour and undergo testing to verify they meet FDA regulations. In fact, General Mills confirms that they’re “fully confident that our gluten-free Cheerios comply with the FDA regulations of less than 20 parts per million of gluten.”
So, are Cheerios gluten-free? According to General Mills and the FDA, Cheerios are gluten-free. Do your research and visit Gluten-Free Watchdog to make an informed decision about whether you want to consume Cheerios as a celiac. We also share some gluten-free cereal options below that are similar to Cheerios.
Are All Cheerios Gluten-Free?
- Apple Cinnamon
- Honey Nut
- Pumpkin Spice
- Very Berry
Cheerios Varieties That Aren’t Gluten-Free
To help you out, here are the types of Cheerios that don’t include a gluten-free label:
- Cheerios Oat Crunch Almond
- Cheerios Oat Crunch Berry
- Cheerios Oat Crunch Cinnamon
- Cheerios Oat Crunch Oats ‘N Honey
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch
- Honey Vanilla
- Strawberry Banana
Health Benefits of Eating Cheerios
Wondering if you should eat a bowl of gluten-free Cheerios every morning? When coupled with a heart-healthy diet (that’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol), Cheerios can help lower cholesterol thanks to their three grams of soluble fiber.
In fact, one serving of Cheerios contains 45% of your daily recommended iron intake. This is beneficial as iron deficiency is a prominent health concern in the United States.
Drawbacks of Eating Cheerios
It’s no secret that eating Cheerios (and breakfast cereals in general) often means consuming an excessive amount of added sugar. For example, one serving of Honey Nut Cheerios contains a whopping 12 grams of sugar!
The other big issue is the lack of protein. Experts recommend a protein-packed breakfast to keep you fuller for longer, but Cheerios only contain a measly three grams (or 0.1 ounces) of protein. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, an adult should consume 5.5 ounces of protein per day.
At the end of the day, Cheerios is a processed product that should be consumed in moderation. We recommend choosing low-sugar Original Cheerios for breakfast, eating it alongside a protein-rich side (like a smoothie, Greek yogurt, or eggs).
Related: Looking to bump up breakfast? Take control of meal prep – it couldn’t be easier!
4 Gluten-Free Cereals Similar to Cheerios
If you don’t mind the brand of your Cheerios, you’re in luck! Some gluten-free cereal options are actually completely similar in taste and style to Cheerios.
The aim of the Forager Project is to produce organic, non-dairy, and plant-based foods. Fortunately, this extends into the cereal market. They make gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan Organic Grain-Free O’s in Cinnamon and Chocolate. You can either buy them at Amazon using the links above or put them in your cart when you visit Whole Foods Market.
We are big fans of Nature’s Path here – and their Whole O’s Cereal is no exception! It’s organic, vegan, gluten-free, and made with simple organic,whole-food ingredients: brown rice flour, corn flour, cane sugar, pomegranate juice concentrate, and salt.
One Degree Organic Foods
If you haven’t heard of One Degree Organic Foods, you’re missing out! This family-owned company is all about transparency. On their website, you can purchase Sprouted Oat O’s or Honey O’s and see exactly where each organic ingredient originated. The ingredients include sprouted whole oat flour, sprouted brown rice flour, sprouted chickpea flour, cane sugar, and tapioca starch. Did we mention they’re also part of the Beyond Celiac-endorsed Certified Gluten-Free Program?
Three Wishes Cereal
Firstly, we give Three Wishes Cereal bonus points for their fun packaging. Fortunately, what’s inside is just as good as the outside. The family-owned business set out to create a new kind of cereal made from nutrient-dense ingredients. You have plenty of flavors to choose from:
Each product contains up to three grams of sugar and eight grams of protein (remember that Original Cheerios have three grams of protein). The typical natural ingredients include chickpeas, tapioca, pea protein, and cane sugar.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Cheerios Have Wheat?
No, Original Cheerios are made with 100% wholegrain oats and don’t contain wheat. Once upon a time, they were made with wheat starch, but this has been switched to cornstarch.
Are Honey Nut Cheerios Actually Gluten-Free?
According to General Mills, Honey Nut Cheerios are gluten-free. They don’t contain any gluten-containing ingredients and include a gluten-free label.
Can Celiacs Eat Gluten-Free Cheerios?
Are Cheerios safe for celiacs? General Mills is confident in their testing procedures and their gluten-free labeling. While we believe these cereals should be fine for a gluten-free diet, choose what works for you (or enjoy one of the Cheerios alternatives mentioned above).
Looking For More Ways to Enjoy Cheerios?
To determine whether Cheerios were gluten-free, we dug deep to find answers that would keep our readers healthy and happy.
While you can simply enjoy Cheerios for breakfast, there are plenty of other fun ways to serve the cereal:
- Give them as a dry snack to toddlers (or busy adults).
- Add them to a homemade trail mix.
- Top a bowl of Cheerios with fresh fruit like berries or banana slices.
- Swap them for rice cereal when you make Rice Krispies Treats.
On cold mornings, you’ll have to try our grain-free hot cereal recipe. Believe us: It’s a game-changer!